Choosing a vacuum cleaner for use in hazardous locations

A regular and efficient housekeeping is recommended in hazardous locations to prevent hazards due to combustible and flammable materials buildup.

The use of an appropriate and safe equipment for this task is most important and should be part of the initial hazards analysis.

When it’s time to choose a vacuum cleaner two main aspects have to be considered:

1-is the equipment safe to be used in the hazardous location?
2-is it designed to safely collect the hazardous waste?

Regarding the first aspect you need to know the kind of hazardous location the vacuum cleaner will be used in and validate that the equipment is certified and marked in conformance with this location. Request a certificate of compliance provided by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) stating the location where the equipment can be used.

Regarding the second aspect you need to define the type of hazardous waste the vacuum cleaner will be used for (type of dust or liquid) and the quantity to be collected. Based on this information, and depending on the hazardous properties of the waste, you’ll have the choice between two main types of collection systems:

“Dry type”: collection of the waste inside a bag or directly inside the recovery tank

“Wet type”: precipitation of the waste into a neutralizing liquid bath (recommended for self-heating waste for example)

Read the vacuum cleaner’s instruction manual in order to validate the application it was designed for.

Different sizes of equipment, carts models and recovery tank emptying systems are available.

Vacuum cleaners certified for use in hazardous locations are offered in both electrical and non-electrical (compressed air driven) versions. Vacuum cleaners using compressed air are usually less expensive to purchase and to maintain than electrical ones.

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